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Old February 12th, 2012, 02:58 AM   #1
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Post Sun-Tzu - How relevant to confilcts today?


I have recently read through Sun-Tzu's 'The Art of War' and was intrigued at how relevant his teachings could be if digested with a view to assessing the very recent issues and campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Perhaps if his wisdoms and his calculations were more closely followed throughout the planning and the conducting of present day military actions there would be less chance of the numerous and varied problematic outcomes of going to war which have been viewed as of late.
Drawn-out wars bring economic instability, a drain on public and military morale, and they result in very little gains (if any) for the supposed victor at the end of it all.
Sun-Tzu's advice in his second chapter within 'The Art of War' was as follows:

"In War, Victory should be swift. If victory is slow, Men tire, Morale sags. Sieges Exhaust Strength; Protracted campaigns Strain the public treasury.

If men are tired, Morale low, Strength exhausted, Treasure spent; Then the feudal lords Will exploit the disarray And attack. This even the wisest Will be powerless To mend.

I have heard that in war Haste can be Folly But have never seen Delay that was Wise.

No nation has ever benefitted from a protracted war... Supplying an army At a distance Drains the public coffers And impoverishes The common people.

Where an army is close at hand, Prices rise; When prices rise, The common people Spend all they have; When they spend all, They feel the pinch of Taxes and Levies. Strength is depleted On the battlefeild; Families at home Are destitute.

The Common people Lose seven-tenths Of their wealth. Six-tenths of the public coffers Are spent On broken chariots. Worn-out horses, Armour and helmets, Crossbows and arrows, Spears and bucklers, Lances and Shields, Draft animals, Heavy Wagons."

Does anyone else feel that Sun-Tzu's teachings of war and its character would be best held higher in consideration to military decision-making in the modern day?
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Old February 12th, 2012, 05:23 AM   #2

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I think he deserves some credit for being the first known incarnation of captain obvious.
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Old February 12th, 2012, 06:37 AM   #3

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The basic philosophy of warfare that Sun Tzu espoused has not changed, no matter what the advances in weaponry. He is as relevant today as when he first put pen to paper.
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Old February 12th, 2012, 08:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Roach View Post
I think he deserves some credit for being the first known incarnation of captain obvious.
I can see why you say that but I would say modern warfare doesn't always follow those 'obvious' strategic ideals composed first by Sun-Tzu.
Again to my aforementioned example; the recent conflict in Afghanistan was intended and hoped to be short 'victories' for those invading, but they were not. Was war definitely the best option at that moment?
Was it a demonstration of a calculated and precise and accurate atrack?

I dont personaly think so, although I do feel that Bush could have done with a bit of Captain Obvious.

Last edited by mesopotamia-man; February 12th, 2012 at 08:26 AM. Reason: Error. overexplanation
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Old February 12th, 2012, 12:42 PM   #5

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But most wars aren't started based on solidiers wisdom, they come from politicians.
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Old February 12th, 2012, 05:21 PM   #6

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Relevant to any era... has to do with strengths and weaknesses, actual and perceived. Therefore stratigic rather than tactical.
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Old February 13th, 2012, 04:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RusEvo View Post
But most wars aren't started based on solidiers wisdom, they come from politicians.
You are correct; that is essentially a part-cause of the problem I would say. Politics has become the main driving force behind the military command in many western countries, meaning that true intended military command along the lines of Sun-Tzu's wisdom is lost and the ideals he promotes in his well calculated methods of war are largely overlooked today....
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Old February 13th, 2012, 04:51 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Roach View Post
I think he deserves some credit for being the first known incarnation of captain obvious.


But then, he was an educated observant man when most generals, ancient or modern, are rarely credited with much insight. One of the key advantages in warfare is to spot the other guys mistakes and exploit them. That was always true in warfare.
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Old February 13th, 2012, 02:50 PM   #9
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Let me ask: How often is Clauswitz or Machiavelli taught in the West as much as Sun Tzu?
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Old February 13th, 2012, 04:26 PM   #10

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I've never seen it taught...anywhere. If it wasn't for Gordon Gecko, your average westerner wouldn't have the slightest idea who Sun Tzu was.
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